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Whiteville mulls Brownfields contractor

By: Jefferson Weaver, The News Reporter

A hazardous waste cleanup firm will return to the Whiteville City council later this month to continue discussions about projects that could help economic development.

The city council Tuesday tabled a request by Terracon to apply for a federal grant to help identify and clean up contaminated sites – called Brownfields – which could then be redeveloped. Terracon has been successful with a number of similar projects, Currie said.

Brownfields is a catchall term for any land holding toxic or potentially hazardous waste. Closed gas stations, industrial sites, fertilizer and chemical plants, battery remanufacturers, and metal plating operations are among the most common Brownfields.

Among the larger projects the firm has handled are the former Scotland Memorial Hospital in Laurinburg, now a community college campus, and the University Housing Village in Columbia, S.C., which had been a hydraulic equipment repair facility.

After finding potential Brownfields sites, Currie said, Terracon applies to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for funding, acting as an agent for the city. If the funding is approved, Terracon then manages the cleanup process. The property can then be redeveloped for substantially less than if the owner had paid for the cleanup and marketed the property.

Terracon specializes in downtown areas, Currie said. He emphasized that the firm is not being brought in to work on the old City Hall, which has asbestos, lead and at least one underground fuel tank.

“Had we known about them before,” Currie said, “we might have been able to work something out with the materials abatement at City Hall. We’re too far along with that now to change things up.”

At least one potential site has been identified downtown, Currie said, and others might qualify.

“This could be a good thing, if council approves,” he said. “Any time you can make things easier for someone wanting to develop a Brownfields site, especially in a downtown area, it’s good for the community.”

Terracon specializes in downtown areas, Currie said. He emphasized that the firm is not being brought in to work on the old City Hall, which has asbestos, lead and at least one underground fuel tank.

“Had we known about them before,” Currie said, “we might have been able to work something out with the materials abatement at City Hall. We’re too far along with that now to change things up.”

At least one potential site has been identified downtown, Currie said, and others might qualify.

“This could be a good thing, if council approves,” he said. “Any time you can make things easier for someone wanting to develop a Brownfields site, especially in a downtown area, it’s good for the community.”

Stuart Rogers